I cannot find anything comparable in terms of size/weight/battery and build quality. Especially the trackpad, nothing is remotely close. Otherwise I'd get that and put Arch on it.
People complain Apple is expensive, not so sure. The TCO may actually be less because of the high resale value. It is also more convenient.
More than once when faced with crossing an annoying border (TSA, sigh) I'd sell the Macbook at my origin and simply pickup a new one at the destination. Thirty minutes in-and-out of the Apple store, they all seem to have exceptionally fast wifi, and setup handled via a curl-to-bash of mine gets me exactly back to where I started, down to the sessions..
Since my points of origin usually have higher Apple prices due to currency/taxes, I end up accidentally eking out a profit after months of use per machine.
If you can't be arsed with the above consider this: Their retail global presence is getting to be quite complete, even coming to Samsung land (Seoul, behold: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xt4ldH5vQCQ) and Tel Aviv finally along with some others. Most big airport hub cities will have an Apple store close by.
Stuff gets broken or stolen and yet with this setup I'm generally never 24 hours away from my exact laptop setup...
There is no alternative. I feel trapped.
This is ironic, considering that you live out of a backpack! Honestly though, there are alternatives, but that's the problem with luxuries: once we have been spoiled, human pyschology makes it difficult to accept "less." We tend to describe things we want as things we "need." It seems that many Apple power users, myself included, tend to be perfectionists when it comes to computers. Unlike the rest of the population — the majority of whom don't live out of a backpack and can not justify the cost of Apple products (with the possible exception of an iPhone) — "good enough" just doesn't cut it.
Depending upon what you're using your computer for, you could have a "good enough" setup with just about anything, though it would probably be less comfortable to you than what you have now. For light use, a Chromebook can be instantly set up, and they can be found all over the world. For heavier use, any Windows 10 laptop can sync settings to the cloud and, coupled with Chocolatey and WSL, it's possible to emulate your current workflow. MacBooks are fantastic machines and I believe they offer immense value but, if you feel trapped, it's because the adventurous spirit that has carried you across the world has yet to extend itself to your computing environment!
I am truly trapped. I will buy another macbook, I can't help myself. Even now I can feel myself justifying their flaws in order to propel myself towards the next model. There is no escape.
Having an efficient interface with which to work is really important to me. I suppose it’s a luxury to not have to wait 500ms between keystrokes in vim, but I want instantaneous response.
The MacBook touchpad is really useful and using another slows me down both physically as well as mentally since I know there’s a better option.
I've been an MBA user as well, for reference. I use the mousepad little to none though. Possibly (but I'm not sure, since I haven't tried) IBM had such capillary distribution to support the quite bizarre use case of selling and repurchasing a new machine every few months.
Sadly, the line is over, and this type of build is obsolete nowadays.
Btw if thinking of a X1C for Linux use, I'd skip the latest for now due to them changing how the sleep works and it having issues even with Windows (losing battery while sleeping). The fifth model is great though, if you're not looking for the 8th gen CPU and HDR screen.
I'm in the same boat, and I actually think the lack of serviceability is a feature. On the x220 you can change the disk, the memory and the keyboard just by unscrewing a few screws. On newer laptops, including the whole Thinkpad line, you'll eventually end up breaking little pieces of plastic involved in holding the bottom of the machines, regardless of how much care you take, using the right tools etc...
Especially considering that the gain is to be thin, which really doesn't add much to laptop. If you're restricted for space, then the width is the key factor (try to use anything bigger than a 13 inch on an airplane!). "Thin" seems to be a pissing contest between laptop manufacturers, which the marketing departments then took care of convincing buyers that it was an important feature.
It wasn't noticeably different to my R50 a long time ago.
Wow. I'd love to know more about that.
Setting up my mac can be a matter of days and I hate it.
True story: we were robbed in 2012, in a quickie smash-and-grab through a rear patio (glass) door. They were in and out in maybe 1 minute, and took only what they could see from the yard -- which included my Macbook Pro.
We're well insured, so I went and got a new one the next day, plugged it into my Time Machine drive, and went and had lunch. When I came back, my new machine was ready to go -- all my apps, all my data, and even all my app windows were restored.
Homebrew has an app that can also handle installing Mac App Store apps. It also handles installation of third party fonts.
You then download and activate your dotfiles, copy over your data, and that's it.
For sessions, I guess a download of a recent cloud sync of your last tmux state for iTerm2 would do it (haven't tried).
This data compresses quite well and gets you all the hidden and extra attributes an rsync might miss. That would be my unix-y approach.
Setting up my mac is a matter of letting things run overnight mostly (the rsync primarily).
Then chsh to zsh and log in/out and bam, back in business. I put all my apps in ~/Applications as well or as often as I can. I think screen flow is the only app that I need to install, but that is a bit of a one off and not often used so no big deal.
I've dropped my Macbook Air, open, from a standing height onto a tile floor (accidentally, obviously), and the only damage was a slightly bent corner of the lid. That was 3 years ago and I'm still using it every day. And my home beater is a 2008 Macbook Pro that I've dragged all over the world; the only failure so far has been a fan, which I replaced myself.
- All (newish) thinkpads having spill-resistant keyboards.
- The best-selling ones (X & T series) meeting the Mil-SPEC 810G standard.
I use a Mac though, because I got tired of fighting to get Linux properly running on my thinkpad
Apple support (which is a 3rd party in my country) said ~$400 and local repair guys quotes like $350 or so. The new MBA (last year's) is available for ~800 here. Apparently I can't get any other brand's flash drive fit in there.
That laptop worked just fine (battery, screen all). I wish I can find a way to give it another year or two. Maybe boot from a memory card or so and leave it plugged all the time?
Just replaced the internal SSD on a 2012 MBA myself - works great now :)
Arch on a macbook is a great experience
well, it's usually just an `apt install` or `pacman -S` away. I don't think that distros are optimized for laptop use cases.
That said, some popular distros do offer laptop modes during install. Off the top of my head, I think Ubuntu and Gentoo do.
What about the trackpad though? Of course the hardware feel is the same and great, but it doesn't move quite right, like it does with macOS, or you would with a mouse.
Looks like you get twice the ssd for the money and similar performance but you get a better screen on the apple. Of course you could of course spend more and get a model with a better screen as well.
1300 vs 700. Even if you get 25% resale value after 3 years and say 20% for the thinkpad you will have paid 975 vs 560 for the thinkpad.
Here is an interesting analysis of why used macs may be worth more. Authors thesis seems to be that because apple lacks a low end and has a smaller pool of buyers there is more demand among cost conscious buyers. It also holds back in 2015 that used apple products are worth twice as much as other vendors products in the same portion of their lifecycle but seems to have hard numbers only for phones and from 2013 so not neccesarily relevant to present laptops.
I further hold that resale value is of negligable value to most uers who will either break a device, pass it on to a family member, lose it, or hold onto it until it is effectively of negligable resale value.
It would be disingenious to take maybe money into account when making a purchase unless you specifically plan to upgrade frequently and use the money from said sale to offset the cost of newer models.
For example one could spend 1800 then sell for half in 2 years and put it towards the next 1800 machine. One could spend not much more than 900 per year after the initial investment. So say over 10 one would have purchased 1 machine at 1800 at year zero one for 900 each at year 2 4 6 8 for an average cost per year 540 per year.
Of course people are vastly more likely to say purchase for 500-900 and use for 3-5 years then rinse repeat for a cost of 100-300 per year.
Telling the hands of the government that they don't have the authority seems like a very fast ticket to a very inconvenient travel delay. There's almost certainly some rule or administrative thing where they Can Get Away With pretty much what they say you can, and then you're stuck finding a lawyer.
If your expected adversary is a nation-state intelligence agency, what do you expect to do? Take your laptop with you everywhere you go, all the time? Leave in your apartment for a theoretical attacker to execute an evil maid attack on it?
FDE is highly useful against ordinary adversaries. People with the financial/staffing/training resources to run surveillance on you 24x7 and access your equipment while it's unattended, that's an entirely other ball game.
Take for example China. There are plenty of rumours about business executives taking throw-away electronics while crossing the border or how China installs some random software on people's devices when crossing a border neighbouring a certain province
FDE can also lead to increased suspicion when crossing a border and refusal to unlock the system can pretty much lead to a denial of entry or, worse, detention. FDE also doesn't help in cases when a random border crossing can require installing a malicious boot-loader or a persistent malware somewhere in the system.
In the China story, they might not be installing a persistent bootloader but there's nothing really stopping them from doing that.
Honestly, in certain cases (and I'd rather say, a lot of cases) it's just easier to have no device than deal with what they did to your device after the fact or just sell the device after entering if you are suspicious of it.
For instance a TSA screener is not going to have access to the latest and greatest because information about it gets leaked people will take counter measures.
With a small laptop, this is a very small problem.
>Leave in your apartment for a theoretical attacker to execute an evil maid attack on it?
With very basic training anyone can maintain good physical opsec, the much harder part is keeping your software secure.
TPM + FDE?
Now, if all your files live in the cloud, and you have your setup automated completely, why not?
While we’re here, let me just add another little form of “geographic advantage” (?) to the mix: you all know cmd-‘ pages through windows of the same application. On a US layout ‘ is right up next to tab, which makes it extremely convenient to remember the mnemonics of cmd-‘ and cmd-tab. In US intl ‘ is shoved down next to lshift, and the premium key top of tab is the useless §.
Why? Apple, why?!
Wow! I've heard of this as a practice reserved for the ultra-paranoid, but never actually seen somebody who does it. What's your threat model? Do you have some reason to believe that the US three-letter-agencies might target you in particular? Are you famous in security circles?
I'd also like to know more about your config restoration process. Is it literally just running your script? What other things does it do?
My process is fairly streamlined as is, with most things except software installs done automatically. But I'm always on the lookout for improvements.
What kind of details are you looking for? I unbox at the Apple store and:
- Temporarily turn off Spotlight & Time Machine (Permanently) because it helpfully tries to index everything and tinker with a handful of system preferences while a memorized curl|bash runs
Mostly appearance related. This can also be automated but doesn't seem worth it as it only takes a minute. I don't use iCloud.
- Selective sync with Dropbox (which was just installed for me), mostly for the 1Password folder, while the rest of the script runs. Read HN or better yet about the new surroundings.
- Manually run software update and reboot into my now familiar machine
- Turn spotlight back on
I do forget to remap the esc key each time I do this, or the name of the thingie that helps you do that, that's about the only noticeable difference between old and new machines.
I don't suppose it's Karabiner, is it? This is the one I'm most familiar with, as it's been around under a few names for a very long time.
If so, this is in `brew cask`, which I am assuming is somewhere in your script's mix.
could you explain this exactly? i browse hacker news casually and this part is a bit over my head
Entering country: buy Macbook and SSD/RAM.
Leaving country: remove/hammer old SSD/RAM, install new, and sell.
- I'm looking for a job in New Zealand, Australia, or Canada. Not Seattle (sorry Bill). I'd stop job hunting to work on this, so someone else will have to find me a job.
- I'd develop for the MacBook Pro 2014, because that's my hardware. Only one Linux distro (probably Ubuntu).
- Weekly check-in emails (maybe twice a week). A plan set out at the beginning with the deliverables for each week.
Am I qualified? No idea. Currently I work at OSE, a microSD card manufacturer in Taiwan, where I've bit-banged control systems protocols and done big data analysis. The closest side project I did to this is KeyMouSerial, which logs keyboard & mouse movements on my laptop, sends them to an Arduino, which behaves like a keyboard for a Raspberry Pi.
I'm disillusioned with Apple now, and wanting to hop to Linux. I also want to port iTunes and AppleScript, though I think there's less demand for those two.
The 2 month time is because that's how long I spent on summer internships before (I rewrote Pixelgarde in 6 + 8 weeks, and a driver for a Fisher & Paykel Healthcare CPAP in less than 3 months). Second, my ankle's broken so I'm taking time off my normal work. Third, I hope that if I do the alternative (keep applying for jobs), I'd get an offer within 2 months.
While I haven't used desktop linux as a host os in years, but I agree on the sentiment that the macbook trackpad is easier/probably implemented well already.
Years ago, I spent a bit of time bootstrapping thimblemac.com which involved hacking around and using privateframeworks for the trackpad. Much of the work in that space is seemingly based off of code from back in 2009 - http://blog.sendapatch.se/2009/november/multitouch-on-unibod... , and from searching github just now staring briefly at https://github.com/robotrovsky/Linux-Magic-Trackpad-2-Driver it looks like they've gotten things implemented fairly well.
Between being more interested in surface-like tablets and watching the diy keyboard community's growth, I wonder how hard it would be to create an Open-Source-HardWare typecover that included a touch pad. There have been things like the macdec and express keyboard (https://www.wired.com/2011/02/macdec-tea-tray-holds-keyboard... , https://bullettrain.com/products/express-keyboard-platform?v... ), but given the slimness of the force touch trackpad and info around slim keyboards I bet you could make something small enough to pair with a tablet. You could start by making a slim diy keyboard (think https://keeb.io/collections/frontpage/products/dilly-3x10-or... but slimmer) that had an insert for a bluetooth apple magic trackpad, then optimize the design from there.
Comparing insert other hardware manufacturer and laying it on Microsoft isn't really fair... they have no control over what the hardware mfg's put in their laptops. And they can only fix so much in software when there are literally thousands of combinations on the market at any given time.
There is absolutely 0 issues with jittery scrolling, and out of the 10 or so people I know with SBPs, not a single one has ever mentioned that as an issue. And given that everyone in my group that is on an SBP was previously on an MBP, those cries would be loud and frequent.
I think letting someone else job hunt for you is unconventional for a reason (it's probably a bad idea).
I'd rather that a project manager in one of those countries use this as a kind of long interview. If I succeed/work well with them, then they'd hire me.
As for actually building this, I'd be very excited to see this being worked on. It's going to need a lot of different hardware to test with, so the more people working on it the better.
Applescript is silly in some respects. It was the first scripting language I learned so it has a special place in my heart. I would totally spend the time to port that if someone was wanting help with that. It's quirky and not difficult to pick up. I can't imagine it having much of a market outside of the Mac ecosystem though. I guess I'm also curious why.
AppleScript because it has so many APIs. BetterTouchTool makes heavy use of it. I taught myself how to code in it when I was 13, and I still use it now.
Doesn't Rhythmbox have that?
You mean the commands you can use on apps like iTunes, Finder, Photos, etc.? Those are not AppleScript-specific per se (AFAIK there used to be an option to write Automator scripts in JS). You'd need the Linux/Gnome/KDE equivalent of the Open Scripting Architecture ( https://developer.apple.com/library/archive/documentation/Ap... ) with active participation from app developers. Sounds like a huge overtaking.
Unfortunately the documentation is AppleScript only.
I guess this is indicative of Apple's commitment to macOS automation...
There are a few warts in its other tasks (which should be spun of into another app), but once I switched to iCloud syncing for my phone I stopped seeing those.
I am way past of the tinkerer phase where I would enjoy spending a week on trying to make something work under Linux just so I can feel better. Or the patience where I waited for 1.5 years just to have proper support for the AGP slot on my motherboard.
I want a Linux system that works out of the box and has no problems with standard features like a touchpad.
Under Windows 10 the new precision drivers are fantastic, very close to Mac comfort. Whoever creates something similar under Linux deserves a Nobel Prize and a monument.
So it would be reasonable to limit that new Linux driver to support only Windows Precision compatible touch-pads. It seems that variety of different touch-pad hardware is causing that problems with creating a good Linux driver.
Personally, I'm on board with this. We shouldn't be as concerned about supporting a ThinkPad circa 1994 if it means poorer performance across the boards. Libinput can be the jack-of-all-trades with "good enough" performance for the outliers.
All these things I managed to fix more or less with xinput, by changing some Synaptics properties. And worked fine. Then I jumped versions wit Ubuntu from 16.10 to 18.04 and everything broke. The properties I've used were gone or changed. So I had no chance to use my old settings and I would've started from square one. So I just left. Was tired of the bullsh*t.
If only there would have been a comprehensive application to do this without editing config files and reading forums and scarce documentation. Then I would've stayed probably.
Oh and trying to have 3 and 4 finger swipes and such. No that was another horror story.
So this whole thing is not just about the touchpad for me (but was the final straw in a way), but the overall experience with Linux. The un-userfriendliness of it. The very top layer is nice and you can configure it relatively easily, but as soon as you go one level deep, it's configuration hell if you're not lucky.
And this coming from a guy who loved to compile his own kernels back in the day. Now all I want is a good user experience.
That was my experience with Ubuntu, too. They add a lot of infrastructure for some misguided sense of convenience, partly because of their Debian heritage. I switched to Arch and found all layers to be much simpler to understand. Arch's documentation explains layer by layer and hardly touches upstream projects when packaging them instead of expecting you to use an interface that works only for their distro.
For example, Arch's installation guides you to setup basic DNS on /etc/resolv.conf which is read directly by libc domain resolving functions. If DNS is not working, I know the most basic mechanism responsible. There's no, "/etc/network/interfaces looks right, but whatever reads it is not reading it!" problem.
Anyway, if Ubuntu's not right for you, then maybe another distro is. A bad experience with Ubuntu doesn't necessarily mean that it would be the same with all distros.
Ubuntu desktop is annoying IMO. Server is the only linux worth running. Windows has a superior desktop experience.
Ive made serious attempts to use linux desktops since ubuntu 7 and the annoyance factor of getting things to 'work' and the hostile community is really offputting.
I like that under Linux you have a freedom of choice when it comes to window managers. KDE, Gnome2-3, XFCE, Cinnamon, you name it. It's awesome to have so many tools for one problem.
Hell, I even liked Unity. I think it was a very clean and easy to use wmanager.
But no matter how fancy-ass the wrapping is, if the problem is underneath it.
Solution: install Synaptics, open KDE panel, set both acceleration settings to a low value, enjoy.
Ubuntu Desktop was my preferred go to distro not too long ago. Using 16.10 was nice and I managed to get the touchpad working in a reasonable way with xinput.
Then 18 came along and everything went to hell. All the properties changed and some even disappeared. And of course the ones missing were the ones I actually needed to make my touchpad work in a way that it was comfortable to use.
After that I just jumped ship. I didn't wanted to spend another week to figure out everything again.
I happily choose Linux when it comes to servers and other non-desktop related work, but I am very disappointed how it lacks user friendliness and ease of use. 10-20 years back I would have said, that laptops are a niche platform and that's why it has a hard time supporting hardware. But it's 2018 and laptops are becoming mainstream in everyday use. Not being able to support the primary pointing hardware on a platform so popular is a death sentence.
And don't get me started on discrete GPUs...
I'm amazed at the level of exquisiteness of the requirements of the HN crowd. I mean, I've been using computers all my life and used almost every Linux, Windows and OS X systems.
I do get that Macbook touchpads are god-tier and unrivaled so far by other hardware manufacturers. That being said, I rather have my old Lenovo x220 with an external mouse. No touchpad is as good as a decent external mouse (decent != expensive, mine is $30).
If you want to see an abysmal differences between touchpads, compare a Macbook one with the Lenovo's X220 touchpad. The X220 is the worst touchpad I've ever used, but it is still my main computer and I love it.
People talk about Mac's build quality, when I think they should be referring to its industrial design, which I get is very appealing to the senses. Now, the X220 has serious build quality. You couln't break it if you wanted to, and if you do break it, almost every part is < $100 on eBay and easy to repair.
My point is the following, and as other commenter said; I think people choose Macs before they like it better, it suits their image and are willing to pay their pricetag. I know people need to justify their choices as if Macs are the only objective solution that fits their use cases, but I find this hard to believe.
I understand that everyone has its valid reasons behinds every choice they make, but what bothers me (I know it shouldn't but who cares) is when that people bash on Linux and other hardware manufacturers just because they don't LIKE that OS/computer. I don't LIKE macOS/Macs and I don't them, that doesn't mean they are not good systems. I just CHOOSE to not use them because MY reasons.
Nowadays most systems offer more than acceptable user experiences out of the box, whether its a Linux/Windows/macOS box on whatever hardware. The thing is that people get really picky and justify their decisions by diminishing other manufacturers/systems. I believe people are afraid to say "I bought a Mac because I like them! f* you!"
Second, nobody here is a Macbook fanboy just because their touchpads, but there is a reason why we praise them. From my part I am not a fanboy. I absolutely hate Apple and what it has become. But credit is due for the small things they get right. And the touchpad is one of them. The last good series of their pro line was the 2015 one, which I use at work. That is the best and you can see that as other manufacturers tried to copy it in every way. Not so much with the new models.
Third, most of the touchpads on Linux are bad not because the hardware itself is bad, but because bad support and drivers that apparently nobody wants to fix. My current laptop has a fantastic touchpad under Windows, but under Linux is absolute shit and there is not much you can do about it.
Can the touchpad be still used? Yes, of course, but I hate it. It makes me work slower and makes me annoyed, just the simple fact that under Windows that touchpad is awesome and I can't use it the same way under Linux. That simple fact kills it.
So to sum it up. It's not about Apple, it's not about what OS you like to use. It's not about peoples choice. It's about Linux being shit with touchpads on laptops whether it's old or new, or from another dimension.
So you are completely missing the point here.
I reacted to the comments bashing Linux and such, because I cannot relate to the level of discomfort that people express with their non-apple touchpad. I mean, I use Linux and I use those same shitty touchpads, but I do my work just fine and don't stress about it. I mean, if you think your touchpad is shitty you should try the Lenovo x220 one, it's terrible lol.
What I wanted to understand is what are the uses cases of users like you, where you get to the point of hating a touchpad and make you work slower. Maybe the way I use the mouse it's pretty basic and I need to up my game with multi-gesture magic. But all I need from a mouse is: interaction with my desktop environment, scrolling, copying and pasting text, some basic image editing, and using the office suites which require a lot of mousing. And I can do that with almost every mouse/touchpad.
The tipping point for me was more about the absolute lack of user friendliness when it comes to setting it up. I've spent days to understand xinput, find the properties that I need to change (with non-existent documentation) and then spend time on finding the best values for them.
And then upgrading distribution version negated all the effort I've put into it, by changing a lot of things and was back to square one.
As I wrote in a previous reply on this thread, the touchpad was the final straw in a long uphill battle. A lot of grief came from the lack of user friendly configuration of anything within the system. And when you start editing configuration files and reading forums on a regular basis, that makes one realise that he/she is spending more time on making life easier then actually living it. And this is with one of the most user friendly distributions, or so do they say.
Anyway, I was very disappointed and still am. It's been 18-19 years since I've been introduced to Linux and used it on many occasions, but some things don't seem to change, or take a long period of time to change. I understand it comes from the Open Source-ness of the whole thing, where people take their own time and energy to make something better for free.
When you have a giant touchpad it's absolutely necessary to have good working palm rejection, and I've seen far too many laptops completely fail to have palm rejection in Ubuntu. Sometimes you can get it working again by twiddling the mouse driver (enable/disable xinput for example), but sometimes it just plain never works. I've been all over StackExchange and similar places but on some laptops none of the proposed solutions work. I've opened bug reports, but it's hard for developers to fix it when they can't replicate the problem. Sometimes you only get half functionality, like the cursor won't move but it will still click, moving your text cursor to random places when the palm lightly brushes the touchpad and it registers as a click.
On some laptops I just have to pack in a mouse and disable the touchpad entirely. That's not an acceptable solution. I'm really hoping that Ubuntu 18 avoids some of this nonsense.
Was very disappointed. So if you haven't made the change yet, then you might want to stay on whatever you're on for the time being.
* Better display
* Faster hard drive
* Better battery life
* God-tier touchpad :)
* Premium build quality and materials
* Better sound
* Better resale value
* An Apple store nearby where they can get factory support
About the technical aspects you listed, I think most of them are debatable. But I do believe that none of them are the driving factors that explain why people but these computers.
What I don't understand is why we, technical people, are afraid to admit that we are also vulnerable to the extremely effective marketing campaigns of Apple.
You wanna talk about quality? I spilled a full cup of hot tea TWICE on my lenovo, and nothing happened. It turned off because it has a circuit that closes when it gets wet (to protect itself) but other than letting it dry, the computer is working just fine (I don't put sugar in my tea :) ). I dare you to try that in your new Macbook!
It seems you favor repairability over all other factors: display quality, touchpad, HD speed, battery life, weight, a physical store for support, etc. I used to repair laptops over a decade ago and at that time I would also put repairability at the top of my list. That was a time with failure prone mechanical hard drives, CD-drives, and chassis made of cheap plastic. Most laptops even back then survived water or tea spills fine though they didn't fare so well with soda, coffee, and urine. Perhaps that history is what's driving your personal bias. These days machines are more reliable and I personally would prefer a smaller and lighter machine even if the tradeoff is repairability.
For a lot of people that's comforting.
Funny, on both my work and home mac desktops, I use the Magic Touchpad as my primary input device even while sitting at a desk. So I suppose I disagree with this statement.
What about precision? do you think that the touchpad is more precise than a good mouse on a good mousepad? I'm not asking you if YOU are more "productive" using a touchpad, I'm asking you if you think that if we compare a proficient regular mouse user vs a proficient Mac touchpad user we'll notice a significant difference that'll make us think that Mac touchpads are the way to go?
I don't think so. I think the factor that weighs more is user preference, heavily influenced by marketing.
Also with gestures you have way more stuff you can do with a touchpad then just moving a mouse and clicking stuff.
And let's not forget the smaller travel distance of your hand when you go from keyboard to touchpad, as when you go from keyboard to mouse, or back.
I have a Logitech MX Anywhere 2. I love that mouse. It is fantastic and when I'm working on my home laptop I use it every day, if I'm in desktop mode that is. And I prefer it over the touchpad.
But when I work on the 'work' Macbook Pro (2015), then I use the touchpad all the way. It's just so much better and intuitive compared to using a regular mouse.
I would never want to use a mouse again! Yes, for me an Apple touchpad is way superior to a mouse. If you don't get that, that's fine. We all have our blindspots.
Whose marketing? Apple doesn't push the Magic Trackpad over the Magic Mouse. If you buy an iMac online, the mouse is their pre-selected input accessory.
Same with rotating in Preview and easy smooth zooming on webpages.
Coffee shops, planes, trains, passenger seat in a car, literally on my lap in waiting rooms or transit terminals, etc. This is where I use my laptop, and I don't have room for a mouse in these places.
I also have a Dell XPS and the touchpad is decent, I can work fine with it.
As I said, I'm not questioning the fact that Macs touchpads are superior, but I'm curious as to what are your use cases that make you think that you really need that superb touchpad? are you a graphic designer?
BSD is horribly performant on any laptop hardware I've tried, so that's a no-go.
Linux touchpad support is a dumpster fire of bad drivers and missing config options.
Mac is therefore the only real choice.
At some point you just get sick of dist-upgrade breaking palm rejection and no fix being available for months.
That's not the baffling part though, the baffling part is that they didn't put an option in the control panel to return the old behavior. You have to spin up dconf and find the right bit to twiddle to get the old behavior back. How is this user friendly?
This is like 14 when they hid menu items by default (and replace them with absolutely nothing at all) causing newbies to be very confused as to how to use their apps. It only took a few times of very confused users being totally lost because they forgot they had to move their mouse up to the top to make the menu items reappear before I tracked down the dconf setting to turn it back on. It wasn't until 16 that they exposed that in the control panel, but even then it defaulted to "uselessly hide".
> Linux is the only server worth running
I have been running Linux on MacBook Pros for many years, and the touchpad is a constant source of disappointment. For the effort to be worthwhile to me, the goal would have to include getting Apple's touchpads working excellently in Linux.
I would definitely participate in crowdfunding this effort. (Kickstarter or otherwise)
I have both a 2015 13" rMBP and a 2018 Dell XPS15 on my desk. The Dell's hardware is really fantastic. Overall, it's not QUITE the equal of Cupertino, but it's easily the best Windows hardware I've seen since the glory days of the ThinkPad. The trackpad in particular, though, is just as good as the Apple one, I think. First time I've seen a Windows trackpad that was worth a damn, so I was SHOCKED.
I mean, I think the answer FOR ME is probably still "not yet," given the things that I enjoy about doing most of my computing in the Mac ecosystem, but historically the barriers for me have been twofold: hardware AND software. I suspect the Dell solves the hardware problem.
I'm unwilling to believe that Apple discovered the one and only way to make good Trackpad hardware.
so what you tried is what this thread is trying to fix
I'd put the Surface Book as ahead of current gen MBP's. The trackpad isn't as good, but that's probably because it's a bit smaller and I like the large track pad. In terms of responsiveness, it's just as good.
The only thing missing is native Linux support, which is why a lot of people on here seem to support the WSL on Windows as an option over just installing Linux on the Surface Book. If Microsoft were to come out and say "Here's the new Surface Book, available in Windows 10 and Linux flavours" I could see a huge shift away from the MBP as the de-facto developer device.
Of course, given how fragmented Microsoft are as a company, I can't see their product team coming together to make this a reality, but a developer can dream.
Having said that, before libinput I was ready to return my laptop, because the palm rejection was so horrendous with synaptics.
I thought these were mostly programmers, but I cannot picture a programmer using a touchpad instead of a mouse.
I don't really use the touchpad part though---I use the "track-point" pointing stick embedded in the center of the keyboard. Without that, I feel like I was transported back in time and placed in front of a VT220 terminal or some dusty old Sun workstation. I am concerned that these seem discontinued, but I also have
spare travel-sized units which may last for the rest of my career...
Why would you use a mouse if you're on a laptop? Especially a macbook, where the trackpad is fantastic to use and offers gestures which give you features you don't get with a mouse.
Why wouldn't you use a mouse, and get better precision, a standard form-factor, and universally solid drivers? Besides, you can take your mouse and plug it into any machine you need to work on.
Most non-Mac-users do. Mac users don't, because they have a touchpad with better precision, a standard form factor and solid drivers. Hence this post. Why should I need to carry a peripheral everywhere for functionality my laptop purportedly has integrated?
One could counter-argue that touchpad is inherently worse than a mouse, but I think you'll find Apple have roundly disproven that. There's a reason the Magic Trackpad exists (though I've never owned one, demand seems to be there).
For most use cases pointing devices makes you less productive than using a keyboard. Going forth and back between keyboard and a pointing device is even worse.
Spend the time to optimize your workflow to be pointer-free as much as you can and you'll never go back.
Step two will be for me to sift through the offers and figure out how they can be pieced together into a plan of action. It seems unrealistic to expect that we could raise more than... $20k?... from detail-oriented perfectionists, so I still need to figure out how best to constrain the scope of the goals enough to get this done with scarce resources (unless someone at Microsoft wants to kick in $1m in exchange for the affection of several thousand developers? :D)
It doesn't help that my day job is running a company in the process of launching two new products -- this has a tendency to gobble up available evenings and weekends and I wouldn't recommend it. But I've added it to my todo list to puzzle out how to combine these dev resources into a plan. It's plausible that the current libinput developer could be swayed by this outpouring to help me build a viable plan to build a modern Linux touchpad driver. I'll start there.
Look for an updated blog post with progress in the next couple months. And who knows, maybe I won't still be using this 10 year old hardware in another year?
Let's not add more not invented here without at least doing some solid good faith effort to join the existing efforts.
I was able to write a prototype version of things like a tableview or image viewer that gets input directly from the touchpad device (that draws straight to an OpenGL texture or pixmap). The problem is that you'll never be able to integrate this with Gtk and Qt, it just doesn't fit together. And working within those two frameworks is kind of hell. Generally, gestures are not discrete, you can go halfway through a gesture and change your mind, but you'll still get graphical feedback from the UI. That's part of the joy of using the touchpad. But it's just easier to write it from scratch than to add it to Gtk or Qt.
For me personally, it's not a huge problem because I generally avoid Gtk and Qt apps if at all possible and make my own UI's, but I don't see it gaining widespread adoption so I don't know if it's worth the effort.
Doing this for all laptops Linux could possibly run on is almost impossible. It’s a shame that touchpad (or laptop) vendors do not see good drivers as a competitive advantage. Sounds like a lot of people would buy a laptop just for its touchpad (though probably not enough to justify investment from manufacturers, so it seems).
It’s not like every time a new pc laptop comes out the dell and HP folks say: “Yee haw! Roll up yer sleeves boys, it’s time to write another touchpad driver!” That’s just insanity.
Then allow per-device configs with (basically) calibration curves. Allow for different kinds of curves (discrete value interpolation, Bezier, you name it). This enables the driver to support a lot of different devices. Bonus points if the driver can tell the firmware about the calibrations (I‘d bet quite a few touchpads have their own logic built-in).
Also the driver must support some curve and noise dampening as well as progressive acceleration (basically inflating calibrated numbers with higher speed of moving touch points and rapid succession of the same gesture) and thus also understand some „higher level“ gesture logic, e.g. to properly support the right feeling for touchpad scrolling as Macs do.
In kernel space there’s definitely a lot we could crib from Android to get started quickly - since that’s the low-hanging fruit I wonder if anyone’s already done it. The userspace stuff is a totally different affair...
The last 10% of any implementation is where the most difficulty lies. I'm happy to see the author not just accepting good enough, as Desktop Linux has really been evolving past that point in recent years to be a legitimate contender for daily/progressional use. Gnome and other desktop software has come a long way.
OP says he needs to "to click in the bottom right corner to effect a right click" when using synaptics, but I've always just tapped 3 fingers to do right clicks.
Apple has people who's full time job is doing that. Linux doesn't. The maintainer of one of the drivers basically comes out and says, "You'd need someone working full time on this."
I have one on the Dell laptop I'm using (which also has a touchpad). Once in a while I try to use it, but I find it almost impossible control with any kind of precision. Changing the sensitivity doesn't help much.
I first tried that device on the first Thinkpads that had it, back in the 90's or whenever it was. I have always had the same reaction to it.
How do you use it? Is this just a matter of getting used to it, and if it is, how long does it take?
I am in the market for a new laptop, so perhaps I should give them a chance. Not really for the pointers, but they do seem to be fine laptops overall.
On my own Lenovo, I use the nipple exclusively, and touchpad is disabled completely. I had played Quake vs other human players with the nipple and won, and I find it vastly superior to any kind of touchpad.
I'm not a classic touch typist, but my fingers tend to be near the home row most of the time, having the pointing device one or two keys away, and the mouse buttons next to space, is a big benefit. Having to shift my left hand to the left, and right hand down 3", just to move the pointer, feels like a lot of effort.
I use point-to-focus (but not raise) a fair bit too, as moving the mouse is almost as easy as alt-tab, I use it a lot to switch between terminal windows.
That's completely immaterial to the precision of it, which is why I'm unable to use it: I never managed to aim at something, I take ages to actually reach a button to click on it (either under- or over-shooting it unless I move the cursor extremely slowly) let alone select some characters in the middle of text.
I have that issue on neither trackpad nor mouse, and can use both reliably precisely.
I'd pay significantly more over already inflated Apple prices to have my MBP with a trackpoint and no touchpad.
To me that reads as though you are unable to use it because the device itself is imprecise. That some indeed do find it more precise would seem to exonerate the device. Personal preference, is a different can of worms. :)
No zealotry present at all, here at least.
It is a call back to lokedhs's original issue:
> Once in a while I try to use it, but I find it almost impossible control with any kind of precision. Changing the sensitivity doesn't help much.
which is what they were asking about when they wrote
> How do you use it? Is this just a matter of getting used to it, and if it is, how long does it take?
right afterwards, not "what finger are you using" (the index of the dominant hand would certainly be the obvious choice to just about anyone).
I actually just used the touchpad on said laptop with my thumb, to move the arrow to the 'reply' button (I have an inbuilt distrust of tab on websites). And now I used the trackpoint to resize the text box to read my reply, again without thinking about it.
I suspect that when I'm in "doing" mode I use the trackpoint, when I'm in "consuming" mode I use the pad.
Now maybe I could get better at the precision piece for trackpoint overtime, but if you use trackpoint you also lose the ability to do multi-touch (two finger) scrolling, which I think is a huge time saver, b/c you can scroll without having to find the scroll bar and/or moving your hand over to the arrow/page keys.
Macbook took a couple months of adjustment. But there is almost no use of muscle whatsoever when moving the mouse on a macbook. Thinkpads feel incredibly straining in comparison now. And scrolling on a macbook...completely effortless. There is nothing like it.
The nipple on every other manufacturer I have tried isn't even usable. The nipple on the Thinkpad is god like. I used to hear of designers prefer it for Photoshop editing back in the days before Lenovo.
That said, I am using a MacBook Pro now with macOS and have been for years because I tend to spend way too much time tinkering to get things perfect.
These days, I still have a Lenovo X200 for Linux and still use the pointer there although I'm generally happy with trackpads across the board. (Except on Windows apparently. I had to get a mouse for my 17" Alienware laptop because the trackpad still drove me crazy.)
My X220 nipple unfortunately became a little unreliable. Needs calibration often (auto moving cursor) and sometimes one direction works better than others. It's annoying, especially since the touchpad is just unusable.
Any suggestions? Hardware or software issue? Would a new rubber nipple hood thingy help?
It works with strain gauges. Thats why you can control the speed of the pointer, not just the direction. When you get used to it, its quite effective.
You can pull the rubber nub off and try it, that shouldn't help but it might. If its sticking in a position that isn't "Neutral"
Oddly IBM made a mouse with that nub pointer thing. It worked so much better that any sort of wheel for pointing and scrolling, but I left it when I left IBM many many moons ago.
Having said that, this is the beauty of Linux, let people use what they like, being devices or window managers.
I wish that they made a full size version of it - I miss the extra keys.
for casual use a touch pad is better and for gaming a mouse is better.
The most annoying thing is scroll zoom in some apps (mostly Chrome), that makes hitting ctrl while the trackpad is "coasting", result in zooming to oblivion. I've sort of solved it with a chrome extension that disabled scroll zooming.
But in general it just doesn't feel as smooth and took a lot of time tinkering with to get to reasonable results.
I'll gladly contribute a bit to a kickstarter or something.
Its super basic and doesnt have all the features I want it to yet cuz of time. It works well enough though and doesnt need to do any work on the actual drivers to function.
# Move to next/prev workspace
gesture swipe down 4 _internal ws_up
gesture swipe up 4 _internal ws_down
# Browser go forward/back
gesture swipe right xdotool key alt+Right
gesture swipe left xdotool key alt+Left
# Toggle Activities overview
gesture swipe up 3 xdotool key super+s
gesture swipe down 3 xdotool key super+s
# Zoom in/out (works in e.g. Firefox, Chromium, Terminal)
gesture pinch in xdotool key ctrl+minus
gesture pinch out xdotool key ctrl+plus